Katie Walsh's Grand National portrait shortlisted for top prize


Channel 4’s portrait of top female jockey Katie Walsh has been shortlisted in the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

The Katie Walsh portrait, taken by Spencer Murphy, was part of a series of portraits from Channel 4’s Original Extreme Sport marketing campaign and used to promote the broadcaster’s first Grand National showcase. The campaign for Channel 4 Racing was created by 4Creative’s Chris Bovill, John Allison, Alice Tonge and Matt Fee and art directed by Alice Tonge.

Spencer Murphy, who won third prize in last year’s competition, explains: “I wanted to show both her femininity and the toughness of spirit she requires.”

Katie Walsh adds: “I was delighted to support Channel 4’s Grand National poster campaign. As Spencer says, he wanted to capture the resilience require to be a lady jockey – I would have preferred make-up but sweat and mud shone through!

“It’s an immense privileged to have ridden in the great race. To win is the ultimate accolade which I’m still hankering for.”

The other pictures shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize include former United Nations leader Kofi Annan by Iran-born Anoush Abrar; twin sisters by German photographer Dorothee Deiss and a pilgrim at an Indian festival by Giles Price.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday, 12th November. Katie’s portrait will be hung alongside 50 other selected pictures and will be open to the public from Thursday, 14th November until early February 2014.


  • The AP McCoy portrait taken by Spencer Murphy for the same Channel 4 Grand National campaign is being held in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection and will be displayed in due course.
  • To date, nine images by Spencer Murphy have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery for their permanent collection and his seventh inclusion in their annual exhibition.

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned, commercially-funded, not-for-profit public service broadcaster and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive. Its public ownership and not-for-profit status ensure all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is also required to commission UK content from the independent production sector and currently works with over 400 creative companies across the UK every year. In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes: E4, More4, Film4, 4Music, 4seven,, video-on-demand service 4oD and standalone digital projects.

4Creative is Channel 4’s multi-award winning creative agency and was recently named Creative Review’s Ad Agency of the Year.

Headed up by Chris Bovill and John Allison, 4Creative acts as both creative agency and production company across all advertising output for Channel 4 and its family of brands.

In 2012, 4Creative were responsible for the multi-award winning Paralympics campaign ‘Meet the Superhumans’. The 90 second film celebrated the herculean efforts of Paralympians, capturing their grit and determination intercut with an insight into their back-stories – set to the epic Public Enemy track, ‘Harder Than You Think’. The film received widespread acclaim and has earned 4Creative multiple awards including the UK’s only Grand Prix at the 2013 Lions, a Black Pencil and four Yellow Pencils at the D&AD Awards, multiple Gold Awards at Creative Circle and British Arrows where the ad was awarded ‘commercial of the year’, a Grand Prix at the Marketing Society Awards (jointly with Sainsbury’s); it was Campaign magazine’s Campaign of the Year in 2012 and was also voted one of TED’s Ads Worth Spreading.

Following this, 4Creative were behind the thrilling, critically acclaimed ad campaign for The Grand National, broadcast on Channel 4 for the first time this year. The film saw Liverpool city take the place of Aintree’s race course and featured ten horses racing through streets, allotments, back gardens, parks and ponds; jumping cars, fences and park benches and won a Bronze Lion at Cannes 2013.

Most recently 4 Creative were behind the highly praised marketing campaign for Channel 4’s Mating Season which explored dating through the eyes of a recently bereaved older man, Arthur - a Galapagos Tortoise. Through a series of trails the campaign followed Arthur on his emotional journey to find love in the 21st century and through his eyes, viewers experienced just how complex the dating landscape has become.

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